The Truth About 'COVID Tongue'

The pandemic has been wreaking havoc on the lives of Americans for what seems like a very, very long time. By the end of last year, it was estimated that more than 53 million people in the U.S. had been infected with the virus, per The Wall Street Journal. However, that number could be even higher because not everyone knows they have it or gets tested. While the CDC says the best ways to avoid getting COVID-19 is to use face covers and wash our hands, some of us will still get sick. 


If you're wondering if you have it, there's some symptoms that have become more common knowledge. According to the Mayo Clinic, many people who get the virus will be tired, have a fever or a cough. Other signs can include shortness of breath and a sore throat. However, there's one symptom you might not be familiar with — COVID tongue.

What are some of the signs you have COVID tongue?

According to Health Digest, the virus can cause your tongue to become enlarged and discolored. "There are a lot of ACE receptors in the tongue, so the virus concentrates very heavily in this region," Dr. Rajeev Fernando, an infectious disease physician, told Health. "In the tongue, there can be a lot of COVID." Meaning, signs like this can occur anywhere these types of receptors are present. 


However, just because you have a swollen tongue, doesn't necessarily mean you have coronavirus. "A number of viruses can cause mucocutaneous manifestations," Thomas Russo, MD, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo, told the outlet. Dr. Fernando agreed and said tongue symptoms you might experience "aren't a slam dunk for a COVID-19 diagnosis." They both explained it's likely you would have a variety of other symptoms, in addition to having COVID tongue.